Fort Hays State University is once again running a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, free to students and members of the community, starting this month.
Students from the Accounting Club and the Advanced Tax Procedure class, as well as other faculty, will be preparing tax returns for people in the community. Those in the low-to-moderate income categories are eligible for the free return preparation.
“We like to have students there because it’s great experience. The students have taken a tax preparation class before, but that class doesn’t prepare the students for the tricky complicated question and scenarios that frequently come up in real life,” said Charles Gnizak, an associate professor in the Economics, Finance, and Accounting department.
“The students who work on the tax returns all have to pass a standardized IRS test before we’re allowed to let them work … In the past we’ve had around 200 returns filed a year. Unfortunately, we can only do about 10-15 returns a day, so if there are people waiting at 7:30 pm, we have to turn them down.”
Bryce Engelbert, a senior, said, “It is great helping people with their taxes. Most people pay more than they need to, and our tax preparation helps get them some of their money back.”
The tax preparation runs every Tuesday and Wednesday starting February 7 and ending March 14. The sessions run from 5:30 to 7:30 pm in McCartney Hall Room 116. Each appointment is on a first-come, first-served basis, so appointments are not accepted.
Forms that the volunteers are qualified to prepare include Forms 1040EZ, 1040A, and 1040. Schedule A (Itemized Deductions), Schedule B (Interest and Dividends), and Schedule EIC (Earned Income Credit) are also able to be filled out. Volunteers are not qualified to do a Schedule C (Business Income), Schedule D (Capital Gains), Schedule E (Rent Income & Royalties), Schedule F (Farmer’s Income) or tax returns for international students.
Students and community members are required to bring along several forms of information, including their driver’s license or photo identification; social security card; Wage and Earning statements; yearly dividend and interest statements from banks; last year’s tax returns, if available; and, for the students, tuition statements from Fort Hays. Students will also need to know whether or not they are being claimed as dependents on their parents’ return.
For more information, questions or concerns, contact the Fort Hays Economics, Finance, and Accounting Department at 785-628-5805 or Gnizak at 785-628-4328.